High ap­petite for min­ing in­vest­ments: Min­is­ter

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Oliver Kazunga

MAX­IMIS­ING min­eral ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion and cre­at­ing eco­nomic link­ages is crit­i­cal to driv­ing Zim­babwe to­wards achiev­ing mid­dle in­come sta­tus by 2030, the Min­is­ter of Mines and Min­ing De­vel­op­ment, Win­ston Chi­tando, said in Bu­l­awayo yes­ter­day.

Un­der the lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa, Zim­babwe has set a vi­sion to achieve a mid­dle in­come econ­omy by 2030.

In his key note ad­dress at the Mine En­tra con­fer­ence which ends in Bu­l­awayo to­day, Min­is­ter Chi­tando said given the strate­gic con­tri­bu­tion of min­ing to the econ­omy, min­eral ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion was a vi­tal cog.

“Yes, there is growth in the min­ing sec­tor, max­imis­ing the ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion of min­eral re­sources and cre­at­ing eco­nomic link­ages is vi­tal. What­ever the num­ber of min­er­als that Zim­babwe is en­dowed with, those min­er­als are of no use if they are un­der­ground,” he said.

“What we would like to see is those min­er­als be­ing ex­tracted and ben­e­fi­ci­ated and hav­ing an ef­fect on the link­ages in in­dus­try for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of our coun­try.”

Last year the gold sec­tor gen­er­ated rev­enues amount­ing to $2,7 bil­lion and Gov­ern­ment tar­gets over $12 bil­lion in rev­enue by 2023.

“This growth is lim­ited to min­eral sales rev­enue and does not touch on the ef­fects on down­stream in­dus­tries. Some of the min­er­als on this hori­zon of growth, which will con­trib­ute to this in­crease, in­clude gold, lithium, plat­inum and di­a­monds,” said Chi­tando.

Zim­babwe pro­duced 24 tonnes of gold in 2017 and by end of last month out­put was around 28 tonnes with the coun­try poised to reach 35 tonnes by De­cem­ber.

Min­is­ter Chi­tando said a num­ber of ini­tia­tives were be­ing ex­e­cuted to en­able con­tin­ued growth tra­jec­tory in the gold sub sec­tor. He, how­ever, said cap­i­tal con­straints re­main a ma­jor hur­dle but in­vestor ap­petite re­mains very high with more in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal in­vestors seek­ing a share of the min­ing pie.

Min­is­ter Chi­tando said there was also a po­ten­tial for­eign in­vestor com­ing into the coun­try next week with a $50 mil­lion out­lay to in­vest in the gold sec­tor. On lithium, he said, the coun­try has four ac­tive projects and Gov­ern­ment will be work­ing in over­drive to en­sure the growth of the sec­tor.

Min­is­ter Chi­tando said ex­ist­ing plat­inum pro­duc­ers were car­ry­ing out cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture pro­grammes in ar­eas such as ex­pan­sion, and boost­ing smelt­ing ca­pac­ity. There are also new play­ers seek­ing to in­vest in plat­inum and a sim­i­lar drive is no­tice­able on di­a­monds.

Last year the di­a­mond sec­tor pro­duced 1,8 mil­lion carats and this year over three mil­lion carats are pro­jected.

It is en­vis­aged that by 2022, Zim­babwe will be pro­duc­ing over 10 mil­lion carats an­nu­ally. Min­is­ter Chi­tando re­vealed that Zim­babwe was also fo­cused on pro­duc­ing stain­less steel. — @okazunga

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